Participation at last Wednesday’s Box City surprised organizers, with around 50 students taking part in constructing houses, castles and other dwellings out of boxes.
The event, organized by VUWSA and the Education Action Group, was designed to raise awareness about the difficulties students face surviving on a student loan of $150 per week. Other issues highlighted include the need for universal student allowances and no fee rise for 2008.
VUWSA Campaigns Officer Tai Neilson says the event was “fucking awesome and better than I expected”. He says around 50 students took part in building the city from midday onwards, and around 10 stayed overnight, and that many other people were attracted to the event. The VUWSA exec also conducted their weekly meeting in the City.
“People really loved it because they could build their own thing and do their own shit, but at the same time they were building towards the same idea,” says Neilson.
“People walking past were kind of like ‘whoa, what’s going on, this is really cool’, and there were banners up that were highlighting the issues of rising costs of living.”
A group of students who created a ‘shanty’ house said that it reflected “conditions at our hostel” – Helen Lowry. The group said they wanted to add Corinthian columns but decided against it to continue the shanty theme.
One of the students said the event was “fantastic with a capital ‘F.’”